Recovering Unpaid Wages in Pennsylvania
Large numbers of Americans live their lives paycheck to paycheck. Unpaid wages can equal financial disaster for many families and individuals. Many families do not have enough money in savings or assets to get by if they do not receive their paycheck in a timely manner. Thus, the Pennsylvania legislature has passed a law to ensure that employers pay wages on time. This law is the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law. 43 P.S. §260.1 et seq.
The Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL) provides a statutory remedy for employees who are denied wages in a timely manner. Thus, if an employee does not receive a paycheck on the date that it is due, they may be able to take legal action against their employer. This action will allow them to recover the unpaid wages and additional compensation.Important Features of the WPCL
The WPCL requires that wages be paid on the regular payday that the employers have designated. This payday may be determined by custom within the industry, employment contract, or within 15 days of the end of the regular payday. This rule provides a framework of time periods within which an employer may set the payday. However, once the date is set, the employer may not simply adjust the payday at its whims. The payday becomes fixed and if payment is not made on that date they amount owed is considered unpaid wages.Wages Unpaid for 30 Days
If the employer does not pay wages to the employee on the fixed payment date the employee may bring an action against the employer to recover those wages. If those wages go unpaid for 30 days the law imposes upon the employer strict penalties. First, the law will impose liquidated damages upon the employer. Liquidated damages are extra damages that the employee will be entitled to above and beyond the unpaid wages. The amount of liquidated damages the employee is entitled to under the WPCL is 25% of the wages due, or $500, whichever amount is greater. Next, any employee who succeeds on an unpaid wages claim is entitled to mandatory attorney’s fees. Thus, attorneys and employees are incentivized to pursue these cases; as the law will reward the successful plaintiff by awarding them some costs (attorney’s fees) of the litigation.Conclusion
In Pennsylvania the WPCL provides statutory relief to employees who are denied their wages by an employer. Once the employer sets up a payday, the employer must strictly adhere to paying the employee on that day. Additionally, if the employer does not pay on that day, or within 30 days of the payday, the employee may bring an action in court to recover the unpaid wages, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees. These statutory damages provide incentives for employees and attorneys to pursue these cases and recover unpaid wages. In a world where most people rely on their weekly paycheck to make ends meet, this statute provides powerful recourse for employees and an incentive for employers to pay on time.
If you have been denied wages on your regular payday Pometto Law will help you recover those wages through legal action. Call Pometto Law now at (412) 593-4529 for a free consultation.